Watching the Dawn
As I’ve written about before, the Republicans are setting up to possibly block the nomination of Dawn Johnsen, Obama’s nominee to the Office of Legal Counsel. Brian Beutler over at Talking Points Memo rounds up the latest chatter on the conservative wires on the GOP’s possible filibuster:
Yesterday, The Washington Times–one of the country’s leading conservative newspapers–published an op-ed calling her a “radical” and urging Republicans (and, comically, Democrats) to filibuster the President’s choice to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
Also yesterday, McClatchy quoted Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) saying she faces a tough road ahead. “I think she’s in real trouble,” Voinovich said. “From what I’m picking up from consensus, she’s got a problem.”
And Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, has sent word out to her members to call their senators and urge them to filibuster Johnsen’s confirmation. Some of those callers will enjoy friendly hearings. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) has already vowed to block the nomination of David Hamilton, who Obama selected to fill a vacancy on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Filibustering Johnsen will be a valuable point of leverage for the GOP — a way to get some attention to issues that are getting trampled by the majority. As I mentioned in my last piece, she’s a firecracker, who didn’t hesitate to get out in front on anti-Bush train.
On the other hand, Sen. Arlen Specter — the ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee might be too toothless to really fight this. There was similar talk earlier this year that Specter would stage a battle over Attorney General Eric Holder’s nomination, which ended up going pretty smoothly. But if it’s any indication, for all the ruckus over Holder’s potential controversy, he was voted out of committee in a 17-2 vote — not so for Johnsen, who comes to the Senate floor with a vote split strictly along partisan lines in committee.